SEA Currents: Feb 2016
February 11, 2016
Hello! My name is Aiden Ford and I am an undergraduate at College of the Atlantic, where I am working toward a bachelor’s degree in Human Ecology and Secondary Science Education. This winter, I am proud to be a member of SEA Semester: Colonization to Conservation in the Caribbean program at Sea Education Association (SEA). In just under one week, my class and I will fly to St. Croix to meet up with the SSV Corwith Cramer and begin our exploration of history, culture, and environmental issues in several different Caribbean Islands, including Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Jamaica, Puerto Rico, and St. John.
February 10, 2016
Floating plastic debris in the ocean may be more hospitable to some marine animals than originally thought, according to a new study co-authored by a SEA Semester alumnus who gathered samples aboard the SSV Robert C. Seamans during the 2012 Plastics at SEA: North Pacific Expedition.
The researchers found that the presence of barnacles on large plastic debris creates a more sustainable long-term habitat for rafting species to take hold and thrive on otherwise slippery surfaces, such as spherical fishing buoys commonly found drifting in the oceans.
February 05, 2016
Greetings from the Cramer, about 17 nm from Virgin Passage. This is Mauro once again with your daily update.
C-watch had an uneventful watch yesterday from 1900 to 2300. Winds were light and variable, and eventually died down around the time A-watch took the deck. Despite all our best efforts (singing and whistling wind songs, trying to do wind dances), we couldn’t muster any winds. A-watch used the relatively low speed to do a midnight Neuston net tow, capturing, among other things, larval eels (Leptocephali) and spiny lobsters (Phyllosoma) which were presented to the crew at our 1430 class by Stu and Virginia.
February 04, 2016
Students in Class C-264, SEA Semester: Colonization to Conservation in the Caribbean, had a chance to hone their drawing skills at the Rhode Island School of Design’s Nature Lab. Shown here is student Melissa practicing an insect illustration.
February 04, 2016
Greetings from the Cramer, currently located within eyesight of the island of St. Croix (we’ve yet to make landfall-we’re just sailing on by!). This is Mauro once again with your daily update.
Last evening’s watch, like all watches, proved to be an exciting one. With wind direction changing and wind speed picking, A-watch had the opportunity to strike the main sail at 2000 yesterday evening. For the first time on our voyage our group had to strike the main, under the cover of night with 10 people. A-watch succeeded in their task, and then quickly proceeded to strike the jib. This required some brave individuals to go out on the bowsprit and furl the jib. Special shout-out here to Cloey (College of New Rochelle ‘17) who, without hesitation, was the first to make her way to the bowsprit, clipped in with her safety harness, and climbed out to the very end and began furling the jib! Great job to everyone involved-it was an excellent team effort.
February 03, 2016
Yet another gorgeous morning on Corwith Cramer, with Puerto Rico’s mountains to our west and the seemingly infinite Atlantic stretching out to the east.
A brief rain greeted B watch this morning, but students-under the direction of the watch captain-struck the JT and began a slow gybe to create optimal conditions for science deployments. Drenched, yet smiling, laughing, and in high spirits, all on deck had the opportunity to see a double rainbow off the port side. We eventually hove to - essentially “parked” - for our third and final science super station. B Watch mustered on the science deck and students were taking turns deploying various pieces of equipment off the port side. First, a secchi disk was sent out, measuring the depth of light penetration in the water column (giving us an indication of how much photosynthesis is occurring). Any guesses how deep the students were able to maintain sight of the white disk?
February 02, 2016
Greetings again from Mauro aboard the SSV Corwith Cramer, slowly gaining ground (moving along at 0.9 knots) as we head generally towards Virgin Passage.
Currently Williams-Mystic S16 is enjoying a swim call in the beautiful blue waters above the Puerto Rico Trench, a much welcomed break after today’s class: up and overs (going aloft), sail handling, and review for our pin chase tomorrow. Second Mate Eric informed us that many sailors were not considered sailors until they completed their first up-and-over—though they did so in harbor. I wonder, then, what sort of sailors that makes our class, who completed their first aloft session approximately 45 nautical miles away from the nearest harbor?
February 01, 2016
Greetings from the waters outside of San Juan, Puerto Rico! My name is Mauro, the Admissions Director with Williams-Mystic, and current resident-for the next 10 days—of the foc’sle upper bunk, port side (in an area affectionately known as the Anti-Gravity Chamber). I’m here with 17 great students and Teaching Assistant Hannah Whalen and Professors Lisa Gilbert and Mike Nishizaki on Williams-Mystic’s Spring 16 (S16) Offshore Voyage.